Oscar Watch: Is Michael Jackson the Heath Ledger of 2009?
By Tricia Romano Posted Oct 30th 2009 02:00PM
We already know that death sometimes pays off for artists. In Michael Jackson's case, death is paying off in dollars ($20 million worldwide so far), but will it pay off in pretty gold statuettes? Elizabeth Taylor might have been a tad hyperbolic when she Tweeted: "It is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. It cements forever Michael's genius in every aspect of creativity. If that weren't enough, she also said, "I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable."
Before you sniff at her assessment, consider: Google News tells us there's already 5,249 news stories for the search: "This Is It Oscar." Not only that, but Sony this week announced plans to submit the flick for several categories.
However, dreams of capturing the Best Documentary Oscar are already dashed -- as they missed the deadline. So, they are clearly aiming for some other possibilities: Best Sound, Film Editing, Best Director, and Best Picture.
But does it have any chance? Can the Heath Ledger effect carry over and nab Jackson an Oscar Posthumously?
Village Voice columnist Michael Musto doesn't think so. "I think Peter Finch and Heath Ledger are the only actors to win an Oscar posthumously, so it doesn't necessarily help your chances to be dead. It's actually better if you're ABOUT to be dead."
The Hollywood Reporter's Roger Friedman doesn't think it's likely, either. "I don't think there's a Heath Ledger effect. 'This Is It' is a celebrity documentary/concert film. And while I loved it, and it deserves a big audience, Oscar documentaries tend to be more serious -- they're usually about hunger, deprivation, poverty or the Holocaust. I'd much rather see Joe Berlinger's 'Crude' get into the final five. If anything, 'This Is It' should be celebrated at the Grammy Awards with some kind of special citation. And I have a feeling it will be."
'This Is It' Pics
Lionel Richie is seen here signing autographs for a masked Michael Jackson fan at the premiere of 'This Is It.' Click to See More Pics From MJ's Big Movie Premiere of 'This Is It' >>>
Michael Musto doesn't think the flick has a chance in you-know-what: "This doesn't have a chance for a Best Picture nomination, mainly because a documentary has never gotten that kind of recognition, even something by that other God-fearing Michael, Mr. Moore. Even a FAUX documentary like 'Paranormal Activity' doesn't have a chance (And yes, despite popular supposition, that IS a separate movie from 'This is It')."
Now that the Best Pic category has been opened up to include 10 flicks, Musto is still skeptical. "I sincerely doubt 'This Is It' will get in there, though a Golden Globe nod seems inevitable, nyuck nyuck."
Musto isn't impressed by the Jackson family's willingness to exploit the dead singer. "Of course, if there was a statuette for slick exploitation, the trophy would be in the bag--though it would have to tie with the televised all-star memorial, Rabbi Schmouley's book, and Joe Jackson for announcing his new label when the body was barely cold."
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